If you think about it, the idea of Marriage is actually quite absurd.
Meet a boy, fall in love, have adventures, lazy Sundays; Make memories. Get married, settle down, throw a Toddlermonster or 2 into the mix and before long you can barely recognise yourselves.
“I really fancy you with poo on your neck, said no spouse, ever.”
What can prepare us for spending a lifetime with one person? What if your parenting styles don’t match? There’s no way you can possibly try before you buy on that front.
What if your career aspirations take you in totally different directions? What if one of you turns out to be a miserable sod? And what about those little foibles we all have? Be it a nervous cough, or the inability to cook, or a Dad-joke back catalogue which sees you cringe into your Daquari. All of which were sweet at first, but now drive you to the edge (or the Bacardi bottle).
It sort of like this: finally getting your hands on a once in a lifetime vintage Chanel bag. It’s gorgeous, frankly it’s love at first sight. It sleeps next to you, accompanies you to the best of occasions, you are frankly inseparable. You wear it proud on your arm, but the years roll by, and although it’s still your best most prized precious, the novelty has worn off. It’s been with you as you puke up in the bar loos, realising you are not 21 anymore and cannot drink more than a few glasses of wine. It’s been there during laughs and heated debates. It’s seen your best and worst, but now you have kids and their stash of essentials no long fits into your beloved Chanel. Weep.
Clearly there is only one thing for it: time to invest in a bigger and better, but I’m still in the marriage analogy, and upgrades are not part of this deal.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that being parents, AND keeping your marriage alive and kicking is hard. Really bloody hard. Navigating our way through life, raising humans and doing it together in perfect harmony is surely an unrealistic goal.
Maybe we should all get married in our mismatched PJ’s, 3-days-post-hair-wash and a seriously sadistic case of PMT. This realistic approach would set us up for the institution of Marriage a lot better than a beautiful unstained gown, a face of professional make up, a room full of people who are being kind and complimentary, all washed down with free flowing booze and food that has not been microwaved.
As my husband says ‘Teamwork always pays off’. I guess if you can still raise a smile to each other after 5 years of sleep deprivation and somehow fancy each other (occasionally) despite the extra pounds and hairy legs. If you can bring yourself to still be kind even when you really just want to drop the C bomb. If you can bite your tongue rather than criticise the way they staked the dishwasher. If you can still high-five the hell out of life…
If you can, then that’s good enough. That’s Love.
That’s my marriage with kids.
Have you ever taken part in a game of Tug-of-war? You know, the really rough kind, heels dug deep, desperately trying to pull the other team over to your side, at any cost… No? Me neither, rope burn isn’t my thing. However I do feel like I have complimentary front row tickets to the virtual Tug of war game to end all games: The EU Referendum.
Trying to get to grips and keep up to date with the latest scaremongering is a full time job. D-Cam’s latest has been to liken a Brexit outcome to putting a bomb under the British economy; that’s bloody scary, let’s be honest. We’ve been there done that just a few years back. I really don’t fancy seeing another P45 in our family. Turn the page and we see our floppy haired plummy friend claiming that actually a Brexit outcome would contribute an extra £2.4 billion a year to our economy… Maybe D-Cam was talking about a sparkly glitter bomb full of £50 notes going off under the economy then.
Untangling the web of words between the two camps has been harder than untangling my daughter’s hair on swimming night: Frustrating and time consuming, requiring a saint like amount of patience.
How does the girl next door make an educated decision on this? How do I, as a parent, make a decision that I can stand by; If, when my girls reach their 20’s and can’t get a job, unable to get onto the housing ladder and England has its begging bowl out, Greek style, I want to at least say I did try and foresee this shit storm. I voted for what I felt was the best option. I didn’t abstain, I didn’t glaze over when the conversation turned to the EU Referendum (chances of that in the playground are pretty slim yes I know…) I got amongst it and had my say!
I have simply decided to focus on which of the many issues raised by the big wigs would have the biggest impact on our family: and for us, that’s money. We don’t have much of it, and can’t really afford to risk shit hitting a sodding great British Isles sized fan.
So my vote will be to remain. * holds breath, hands over ears*
Risking my little girls childhoods being blighted by another recession is not an option for me– that’s the reason our first is here! We love to travel throughout Europe – well, go on a week’s holiday once a year, so not exactly throughout…but the ease of no visas, the reciprocal free healthcare and the promise of tariff free mobile phone calls being rolled out later this year is good news for those who love a bit of Eurocamp.
Let’s be honest, do we really know enough about how those campaigning for OUT really plan to plug the drain of international businesses sodding off to one of the more attractive Single Market countries (jargon I picked up… you like?!). The pound has been at its most turbulent as the OUT campaign gathers pace, evidence this circus is already pissing on our parade. I don’t believe that they would actually shore up the NHS with funds is desperately needs if the cool weekly sum of £350 mill was suddenly available, there would be some other need, some other trade agreement to fork out for. It’s like being a parent: at last your Toddlermonster qualifies for their 15 hours free nursery sessions after you have been paying for it for a year. Oh lovely, I think, that £120 I was paying out per month can now go towards Christmas. Christmas comes, money’s been spent on new tyres, replacing broken school shoes and a vet bill. Shit happens. Totally comparable scenarios right?!
Get involved, have you say, and VOTE. At least you will have earned the right to moan about the outcome if you do.
For the official IN campaign click HERE
For information from the Government’s official EU Referendum site click HERE
I used to be obsessed with my old self.
By Old self, I am of course talking about my pre-baby days. My twenties. Those care free days when weekends were one long party, social after social. My legs were cellulite free, my stomach wasn’t bearing the scar of 2 caesareans and I could squint in the sunlight without fear that my face had just concertinaed up. My Old self didn’t have to worry about anyone else. I thought this was great.
And it was great. But I got caught up in this gig called ‘Adulting’. I was cheated out of my twenties, by the thirties bug.
I was earwigging to a conversation a group of girls were having recently, one of them was saying that she couldn’t wait to have a bit of time off from parenting so she could ‘feel like her old self again’. Is that even possible? Is it that easy for us Mumas to revert back to those days? Is it possible to shake total responsibility and that dull ache of worry for our children, and, in its place, have a truly carefree head-in-the-clouds break?
I would love to find the ‘off’ switch sometimes. Pop the kids in the cupboard with my very adult ironing board and skip off to an all-day session.
I love a break, mini break, evening break, hell I’d take a coffee break. But it no longer makes me feel like my pre baby self, my old self. I can’t really remember who that person was anymore. Obviously the silly giggly gormless girl still lives inside of me but she grew some wrinkles, I think she found some morals and her head definitely won’t let her get away with buying the cheapest wine on the shelf anymore. Sigh.
The thing is I don’t mind. I’ve stopped looking for my old self. I’m growing really quite fond of this old bag instead. Life in the Thirties lane gets my vote. Over the past 5 years I have grown to love my Muma responsibilities, no I won’t get slushy, but it is pretty cool being someone’s ‘go-to’. However my wardrobe has taken a bit of a nose dive in the fashion stakes: I own a coat with a hood and wear it. Heels feel barbaric (how did I ever run up and down escalators in these) I now look like I need a wee when I walk in them. I love an elasticated waist – and still can’t part with my gigantic caesarean pants!
But I wonder if hankering after your twenties self is universal to all, kids or no kids? I don’t think my girls should shoulder all of the blame for the loss of my ‘old self’. Cellulite is not exclusive to us Mumas, likewise those long forgotten bikini pogo stick figures. Wrinkles don’t just target those who procreate – although I do claim the baggage under my eyes as being a direct result of 5 years of baby induced sleep deprivation.
Is it really entirely the fault of my children that I own a sewing kit, a ‘general cards’ basket, gift wrapping caddy, a steam mop and a sodding great hose?! Probably not…
That’ll be my old self playing at Adulting then.
Adulting with my new hose! Twenties self would be puking in the corner.
My quest to seek out the most child friendly eateries in Sussex has taken me to Baca’s Coffee Bar this week. Set just a few hundred yards from the seafront in the little town of Seaford, Baca’s stands proud to serve unique coffee and tea blends alongside locally sourced food. I have often found this organic approach to be exclusively accessible to those amongst us who are not steering their laden down buggies along the high street, complete with a demanding toddler in tow. I had heard that this was not the case at Baca’s…
Armed with my ToddlerMonster, we stepped into the very chic coffee bar. A cool grey is the back drop for a collection of vintage mirrors, with shelving crates from the local farm shop, and coffee pots from all corners of the world. A stripped back bar gives off a relaxed rustic feel, but, more importantly, is keeper of the most delicious looking homemade cakes and pastries. The vibe is effortlessly cool here. Not mumsey. Not one bit mumsey. Hurrah! You would be forgiven for momentarily forgetting you were in Seaford, and instead bang in the middle of the Brighton lanes.
The owners of Baca’s Coffee Bar are a husband and wife team who have small children of their own- so they get it. They get that children don’t sit still without a very good reason. They get that children can be fussy eaters. But most importantly they seem to appreciate, and not mind, that their pint sized clientele come with the loudest of voices!
The warm welcome immediately put me at ease – there were plenty of highchairs, and the buggy was stored without fuss. But the best surprise, the bit that had ToddlerMonster’s eyes on stalks was the toy bag tree! Let me explain… Here, was a giant pencil standing in the corner, with different coloured drawstring bags hanging from it- all for the taking. A different surprise in each one (yes Lila checked..!). Farm animals, a train set, books, stickle bricks, card games. What a frankly genius idea! I must mention too the well stocked big-enough-for-a-buggy, loo. Spotless, with a change matt, wet wipes & paper towels. All that a parent could wish for!
It’s quite clear that coffee is at the heart of Baca’s. Namier, the owner, explains that the Horsham Coffee Roaster supplies them with a unique Benchmark single origin Brazilian coffee – only available on a seasonal basis. Now, I’m not going to pretend that I understood exactly what that means, but what I did understand is that this is rare and makes Baca’s unique in this area. I was urged to try the coffee without my usual large dose of sugar, reluctantly I did. Smooth, rich, naturally sweet, not bitter. No, I’m not talking about my husband.
For 20 years I have been drinking coffee with sugar, until this day. The flavour of this coffee is so good I didn’t miss it, with double shots served as a standard. I’m assured that the drip coffee changes every 2-3 weeks too. For the tea connoisseurs amongst us there is a vast selection from the Bluebird Tea Company Mixologists. As for ToddlerMonster? She was quite happy playing with her zoo animals sipping her Montezuma’s hot chocolate thank you very much…
Not forgetting the food.
Great lengths have been gone to, to ensure that everything served at Baca’s has been locally sourced. The cakes are made by a fellow Muma in the town, the meat comes from a butchers a few miles down the road, as does the bread. Even the milk is bought directly from the dairy farmers rather than a wholesaler. This is a café with a conscience, and with such I can enjoy the crumbly almond croissant, or a slice of the delicious Bakewell cake (almost) guilt free. On this occasion I devoured the Portbello mushroom, gruyere cheese and thyme toasted on Norfolk multi grain bread. D-E-licious.
I’m getting caught up in the organic abyss here – ToddlerMonsters are of course catered for, or ‘Little Munchkins’ as the menu calls them. Offering kid-simple sandwiches, a soup and the much loved hummus / breadstick / cucumber combo. Great for keeping busy fingers occupied…
Hiding behind that rustic, urban decor is a café that has munchkins firmly at their heart. A great addition to the towns thriving café culture and a welcome new addition to my weekly routine!
2 Dane Road
Monday – Friday: 7am – 5pm
Saturday: 9am – 3pm.
As many of you already know: I am a stay at home Mum. I think that phrase is a bit naff, but it does what it says on the tin (although I am allowed out occasionally…). I used to have a career outside of our home. But now we have 2 little girls, my career is here, in the middle of my family. All day. Everyday.
It’s like any job really: it has its ups- mostly when the bosses are out. No, not at the quarterly finance meetings, but at school and nursery. And it has its downs, like when I miss my weekly washing targets. The hours are slightly longer than I was used to, I seem to be in my office by 6am. But the commute is a staircase and dressing gowns seem to be acceptable office attire. The slight stinger in the tail is that the pay is shit, well, non-existent actually. My bonuses are now paid in kind; lots of snotty cuddles, kisses and the odd punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong, those are priceless bonuses right there for the taking. But they aren’t exactly a lunch-hour-Warehouse-dress-spurge are they.
So this Mummying thing is my profession now. A professional Mummy in my mind creates innovative organic meals, has a home which may as well feature in House Beautiful – a place for everything and everything in its place. The children must attend a host of clubs and after school jollies – ferrying around is quite high up on the JD. Weekends can be nothing but activates and socialfests as all of the house work can be done during the week… surely.
But somewhere I seem to have taken a wrong turn. This isn’t how my approach to Professional Mummying is working out despite my very best efforts to be a real life super mum and nail this job.
Muma Guilt has reared its ugly head once again. And not just guilt that I should be doing a better job at home, but guilt that I DO have all day everyday, to get my shit together, while so many Mumas work long hours on top the full time Muma gig – and seem to be doing a better job!
If I were to have an appraisal tomorrow, I would be issued with a disciplinary. I stopped and glanced around at the chaos that seems to have tied itself around me: my car is always a wreck. From chewed sweets to fruitshoots, abandoned items of clothing and half of shoe zone seem to have a magnetic force to our foot wells. Darcie actually decided that the undetectable smell in our car was in fact, Bum. Great.
It shouldn’t be this way. My car should smell like freaking roses, using tips I picked up on pintrest, during research on ‘How to avoid your car smelling like bum’, because that’s the sort of thing I should have time for. But I don’t.
The wash bin is always overflowing (should I introduce naked Tuesdays?!) even though I am at home all the time. Doing washing. And folding. And putting away. We run out of bread and milk, nappies and formula on a weekly basis – but never coinciding with the weekly shop and at crucial shit-explosion moments, or the breakfast rush.
I dish up ready meals, Ready meals!! I’m at home all the time. This shit is my job and I dish up ready meals. We never seem to have enough time (or calm) to fit in reading the school book every night. I should be devising word games and *crazy* maths challenges to get those intellectual juices flowing through my 5 year olds head. Instead we get our interior design heads on with their Sylvanian world, and cut up Kinetic sand.
I am getting better at remembering own clothes days and those super fun random music shows that the school seem to enjoy springing on us. Clearly the parental form of SATs. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the first 5 years of being a professional parent is just your probationary period.
Any other stay at home mums feel this guilt?
Now, I don’t want to mislead you here. Let me define what I mean by Marriage break:
A whole week, well actually 8 days (yes that extra day makes all the difference in my holiday credits) is the amount of time The Hubs will be off duty for. Relinquishing Husband and parenting responsibilities. Lucky sod. He will in fact be skiing. I just about managed to type the word without displacing the keys. SKIING. His preparation for going on the trip was to cover his work commitments, and pack a bag. Can you even imagine the preparation involved if it was Muma who was up and leaving for a week. Co-ordinating the school runs, bed time routines, dinners, after school clubs, homework… you know the drill.
It just so happens that The Trip falls over Mother’s Day.
But this doesn’t bother me, not even a little bit. I’m sure the Guillian Sea Shell chocs are stashed in an accessible place for Darcie and Lila to TaDaaaaa them, at 6am on Sunday. Nice. I know there are several Mother’s Day cards floating around the house ‘Hapee Mudrs Dae’ blazon across them all. Good old phonics. I can barely read English anymore, I’m much better at deciphering PhonicTalk these days. So I won’t have the longed for Mother’s Day lie in, I’ll be up with the lark cooking up a feast of Nutella toast. But I’ll be feeling seriously lucky that I have my 2 gorgeous handfuls, happy and healthy by my side for the day. I might even get to watch 10 mins of a Saturday Kitchen episode if I play my cards right. (last count was 10 episodes on the Planner…ever hopeful.)
So there we have it, my marriage break; 8 whole days going it solo. I’ve got this. I’m actually looking forward to a little ‘time off’. A little bit of time to miss him. I think that’s a good thing, it’s been 8 years since I spent any time without him. He has been like an extension of me for so long that I’m keen to see if I CAN do it alone. I’m praying the girls are on my side with this and don’t spend the week pining for Daddy. I hate the whingeing, we all know toddlers and MiniMadams have A+’s when it comes to that. And mine can winge with the best of them. As long as I can keep that at bay without getting through too many boxes of Twister ice lollies…
Surely I can do this standing on my head?!